The Most Valuable Impression On The Web

Whenever I speak to an advertiser or a group of people that are not familiar with “True View” and you tell them that YouTube gives the user the ability to skip and the advertiser does not pay until after thirty seconds and you get the face of WTF. Everyone knows the WTF face. So then, I go into it a bit deeper, I take the views (after 30 seconds) divide it by the impressions (before 30 seconds) and create a view rate which they (casual audience) start to conceptualize.


I don’t think people understand it, specifically marketers, until I say that the most valuable impression on the web is the one on YouTube before 30 seconds leveraging the TrueView model. Think about it. 30 seconds to entertain, educate, and inspire before you ever paid a cent while offering the user to skip at any point. The first 5-10 seconds is crucial to your view rate and overall success of the video and the one point where it is recommended to provide value through entertainment, education, or an inspirational strategy. This area is also called the hook spot which should lead either to an introduction of the product/service or an illustration of the problem that a user might have that your product or service solves. Regardless whichever comes first or after, both are crucial and an important part of the first thirty.

  • Hook Scene (entertain, educate, inspire)
  • Illustration of Problem
  • Brand Introduction
  • Re-Hook
  • Reason To Believe I
  • Qualifier

Reason’s to believe in an advertiser are important statements, show and tell, demonstration acts that facilitate a differentiation about the brand. Moreover, the thought here would be positioning. How does the brand make the user a better user with the product or service? Next, we must qualify our audience and probably one of the biggest tools for creative only available through the YouTube TrueView format. Because you don’t pay until after 30 seconds, you have a significant opportunity to qualify your audience within the particular video and usually before thirty seconds. This area also is known as the free impression area and when filtered correctly can cause the targeted audience of a broader audience that could be delivered the message after 30 seconds maximizing spend, audience delivery, and watch time metrics which have an additional benefit in the algorithm as it coincides with the YouTube channel page. Moreover, an example would be to try and reach a mom with a dog by serving an ad to a moms only segment and applying a qualifier of “do you own a dog?”. Qualifying the audience segment, an advertiser delivers a highly targeted creative without making one single optimization inside the AdWords UI.

Did I mention all of this happens before you even pay a few cents, what broad audiences are going for at the moment on the platform?


At this point, most savvy marketers get it. But they don’t know where to start. How to start? Here is where the hard work comes in or does it? It depends on where you are on the advertising spectrum. Regardless, it’s time to get your feet wet. You’ll probably hear this here. First, there will be a day when the YouTube revenue makes up more than search and searches will be more on YouTube than This day will come, and as a marketer, you owe it to yourself and educate yourself on video advertising and how to take advantage of the True View platform at scale.


7 Ways To Get The Most Out Of The First 30 Seconds


  1. Authenticity – We know it’s an ad. You know it’s an ad. We’re not fooling anyone. Inspire. Engage. Entertain. And win your audience
  2. Variation – Play with your introductions more than any other piece of the creative as more people will see this portion of your video content
  3. Variation II – Testing can yield critical insights that will result in actions that lead to lower cost per views and higher engagement leading to a more targeted audience and increased performance
  4. Qualify – Qualifying an audience in the creative or having particular qualifier versions of the creative can help target without leveraging audience targeting which lowers cost and increases reach to a broader audience
  5. Optimize – Video engagement metrics like watch time, view rate, the percentage of video viewed, and click type influence to help evaluate audience and creative performance.
  6. Environment – Have a clear picture of how people will see your ad on each device (computer, tablet, mobile, OTT). Understand users usually have headphones on for sound but might not be looking at their screen.
  7. Placement – Pull a placement report to better understand which video’s your ads are running in front of and the type of engagement associated.

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